LZF Grants
Growing the Grassroots

From the beginning, LZF has prioritized historically marginalized, under-served, or under-resourced communities or populations throughout Massachusetts, where the greatest racial, economic, and social injustices exist.

The Fund intentionally focuses on small, grassroots organizations with annual operating budgets under $350,000, who are “below the radar,” often in the nascent stage of their development, and thus not visible to other individual or institutional funders. An LZF grant is often the first step taken by those who seek to turn a vision into a sustainable reality.

The Fund provides annual unrestricted grant funding up to $20,000. Grants may be renewed for up to five years.

Being a grantee of The Lenny Zakim Fund is often seen as a “seal of approval” by other grant-making organizations, larger foundations, and individual philanthropists when considering their own grant award funding.

An LZF grant is often the first step – a chance to turn a vision into a sustainable reality. Awarded to small, non-profit organizations with limited ability to raise other funds, general operating and program grants range between $1,000 and $20,000 per year. Grants may be renewed for up to five years.

How to Apply

View All Grantees

Our Impact Since 1995

28 years providing opportunity, safety, and equity

for thousands throughout Massachusetts

grants awarded since our founding

Health Promotion and Accessibility for All

Organizing and Support for Immigrants & Refugees

current grantees

Child and Youth Developement & Education

Civil and Human Rights Advocacy and Support

million dollars given to community-based organizations dedicated to social justice (approximately)

Access to Food, Housing, and Economic Security

Violence Prevention, Criminal Justice Reform, and Family Outreach

As our grantee partners continually attest, the capacity-building resources they receive from LZF are as valuable as the grant funding.

LZF strengthens its grantees by providing an array of support such as capacity-building educational seminars and workshops, pro bono legal services, and access to experts.


Free day-long conferences help current and former grant recipients to negotiate the challenges of the non-profit world.


LZF frequently offers free, interactive seminars facilitated by experts in the field. Topics have included: Corporate Governance for Nonprofits, Learning About Donor Advised Funds, and Navigating Insurance Risks and Rewards.


The opportunity to meet and learn from other like-minded community leaders is one of the most valuable parts of the LZF grantee experience. The exchange of ideas, resources, and support creates lasting relationships and strong community ties.

Pro bono legal assistance

Legal assistance is often necessary and always expensive. Through our partners, DLA Piper and The Lawyers Clearinghouse, LZF can provide all current and former grantees with free or low-cost legal guidance.

Leadership counseling

Whether seeking advice on management, board development or donor stewardship, LZF staff members are always available to help grant recipients resolve problems and build confidence.

Access to experts

Board members, donors, and other supporters are eager to share their expertise with grant recipients.

How to Apply

The Lenny Zakim Fund makes grants for general operating purposes. All new applicants must submit full proposals. After a preliminary review, LZF performs extensive due diligence by visiting every organization/program that it considers and then makes final allocation decisions. All grant recipients must submit written and financial evaluations at the completion of each grant cycle year, which serves as a renewal application for those eligible to receive continued grant funding. Our annual grant cycle opens July 1 and the deadline for submitting grant applications is September 1. All grant decisions are announced the following February.

Click here to read our Grant Guidelines


For questions, please contact Dominique Ramos at dramos@thelennyzakimfund.org